The Portland school board seems likely to pass a $162.3 million budget for the 2024-25 school year. 

In a meeting Tuesday night, community members, board members and educators pulled apart the latest version of the budget, which eliminates fewer positions and is $1.3 million greater than Superintendent Ryan Scallon’s original $161 million proposal, but maintains the proposed 6.85% tax increase by using cost savings and an additional $313,071 from reserves. 

The $162.3 million budget that the school board’s finance committee passed in a 3-1 vote Monday night reinstates 17 of about 30 positions that were initially set to be cut, including five education technicians, three classroom teachers and roles to support non-English speaking students, special education students, curriculum creation and administrative services. 

A 6.85% increase in the schools’ portion of the property tax rate would result in an additional $191.25 annual tax on a $375,000 home. 

Portland’s overall property tax rate is the average of the municipal and school tax rates. The city and school board each set their own budgets and tax rates. The school’s budget must be approved by the city and both budgets are voted on by the public. 

This year, property owners saw a 5.9% tax increase, the average of the city’s 6.1% increase and the school district’s 5.7%. 


This budget season is particularly challenging for both the school district and the city. 

School and city leaders have said they are facing tight margins as they work to maintain services and limit the financial burden they put on taxpayers amid a loss of federal COVID-19 funding and inflation, among other things. 

In 45 minutes of public comment, educators, parents and other school community members commented on the budget passed by the finance committee Monday night. 

Many were grateful to the finance committee for adding positions back into the budget. 

“I want to express that it’s clear you’ve been listening to your constituents and we appreciate it,” Lara Rosen said while thanking the district for adding a variety of positions back into the budget. 

Others advocated for further additions, including for the district to reinstate the multilingual coordinator position, which multiple speakers said is crucial in a district where 30% of students’ first language is one other than English. 


The views of the public were reflected in some comments by school board members, who said they remained concerned about position cuts in the coming year.

School board members also thanked the public for being involved in the budget process. 

“It shows the community really coming together to have our schools be the best they can be,” Emily Figdor said of the consistent community participation at budget-related board meetings. 

Since the school board began discussing the budget earlier this year it has garnered significant public attention. 

Since February, dozens of members of the public have spoken about the budget, most asking it to increase support for students as they continue to struggle academically and emotionally to recover from the pandemic. 

The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget on Tuesday. It will then go to the City Council for a vote on May 20 before the public votes it up or down on June 11. 

The City Council also is creating its budget for the upcoming year. The city estimated it would have to raise its share of the tax rate by 9.5% in order to maintain all current services, though councilors are hoping to limit it to 7%. The city manager is expected to present her budget to the council on Monday. 

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